09:31 GMT +323 February 2019
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    MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - The 4th Moscow International Tourist Fair "MITF - Tourism and Vacations" opened in the Gostiny Dvor exhibition center on Thursday. Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, head of the federal agency for physical culture and sports Vyacheslav Fetisov and other distinguished guests greeted the participants and organizers.

    According to Yuri Luzhkov, tourism is a strategically important sphere in Russia's development.

    "We plan to annually receive 5 million tourists in Moscow and this task will be solved," Mr. Luzhkov said. In his words, about 2.5 million tourists visited Moscow in 2003.

    Finalists of the all-Russia Miss Tourism contest greeted the guests. Conferences and seminars on the development of tourism in different Russian regions will be held as part of the fair. According to forecasts, about 70,000 people are expected to visit the fair, including 40,000 tourist experts.

    Experts of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), tourism in Russia will see an investment boom and Russia will become a new tourist Mecca.

    According to WTTC forecasts, the Russian tourist market will be rapidly developing. In 2004 the number of tourists will grow twice due to Russia's extremity, beauty and unique originality.

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